Growing Pains

Pregnancy can be uncomfortable. There’s weight where there wasn’t before, there’s pressure, things are growing and stretching and pulling. Your joints, your ligaments, your muscles and  skin and organs, all have to shift to make room. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s worth it.

When a baby starts cutting teeth, it hurts. Their gums sting and throb, there’s drool everywhere, they’re miserable, you’re miserable, but it has to happen. These are growing pains, little angel. It hurts now but it will be over soon and you’ll be the better for it. You’ll be able to eat pizza– a win in my book.

Kids get bigger. Their limbs get sore, the backs of their knees and their calves ache. The process of becoming, of evolving, is meant to hurt. This is a good thing. Our biological response is that something must be wrong when in some cases it’s just the natural pain of moving forward.

Physical growth is often uncomfortable, and emotional growth can be as well. As adults we’ve forgotten what that feels like. We remember the growing but we forget the pain. And when making a choice is painful or stressful, we hesitate. We stop ourselves from leaving toxic situations or people because we mistake the discomfort for a sign that this is the wrong path.

2020 has come at us full force and people are making resolutions like, “I want to eat healthier! I want to spend less time on social media! I want to watch less TV!” Instead, let’s look at the parts of our lives that are truly hurting us– an emotionally abusive partner, a job we hate, a town that doesn’t inspire us– and allow ourselves to address these issues, feel these feelings, and find a  solution (even if it’s outside out comfort zones).

I am not a saint. I am not immune to sticking bandaids all over my problems until I look like a toddler who got into the bathroom drawers while mom was fixing lunch. I have put scotch tape over the cracks in my heart for the better part of my life. I have struggled alone with problems that could be solved by reaching outside of my bubble and asking for help, because that’s scary and I’d rather be crushed under the weight of my own emotions than be embarrassed. It’s starting to occur to me that even I, as an imperfect human, have a right to more kindness and compassion than I offer myself. That I am more than a bundle of anxieties and unhealthy coping mechanisms and should treat myself as such.

In this new year, I want to encourage everyone I love to make the hard choice. I want to encourage the people reading this to recognize where they deserve better, whether it’s a relationship, a work environment, a family situation, a lifestyle, all of the above or something else entirely, and give in to the growing pains. Give in to the fear and the discomfort and tell the little voice in your head that it’s ok– this is the good ache. This is the hurt of letting go of something that doesn’t serve you. And that’s okay.